Officers demoted after soldier drowns

An investigation into the death of a soldier results in commanding officers being relieved of their posts.

Kobi Finkler,

Major-General Hertzl Halevi
Major-General Hertzl Halevi
Photo: Flash 90

Chief of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate, Major-General Hertzl Halevi, has dismissed three officers after a soldier under their command drowned while serving in the IDF Intelligence Corp's elite Central Collection Unit, responsible for collecting signal intelligence and code decryption (Unit 8200).

The soldier, Corporal (E-4) Ilan Yankelevich, age 19, was a resident of Netanya. He drowned last July in a reservoir next to Kibbutz Kissufim. An hour after Yankelevich entered the water, his friends, who had tried and failed to locate him, reported him as missing.

Divers arrived on the scene, located Yankelevich, and took him out of the water. Emergency rescue personnel attempted, and failed, to resuscitate him.

The findings of the investigation, which were conducted under the auspices of Colonel X (name classified), have been presented to the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot. According to an IDF spokesperson, "The direct cause of his [Cpl. Yankelevich's] death was drowning." Problems were found with the commanders' operating routine safety precautions.

In light of this, Major-General Halevi decided to intervene directly. He relieved two second lieutenants who had direct command over the soldier of their posts because of the incident, and re-evaluated their future in the IDF. Likewise, the commanding major was also relieved of his post. A civilian employee of the IDF will also be investigated. The head of the department was summoned to Halevi for a reprimand.

The results of the investigation were also passed on to the family of the deceased soldier. The IDF emphasized: "We are still running a criminal investigation into the matter. After the facts become clearer, the military prosecutor will evaluate the criminal file and decide accordingly. The IDF shares in the family's sorrow, and will continue to accompany them in the future."








top